Each release of a new iPhone brings its share of new features and improvements. However, certain details, often crucial, go under the radar. We’ve delved into the technical nooks and crannies of the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro to reveal what you might have missed.
As the fever for the new iPhone 15 and 15 Pro subsides a little, there are many articles describing the characteristics of Apple’s new smartphones. However, technical characteristics deserve special attention. Here are some details that you might have missed.
The adoption of USB-C on the iPhone 15 Pro offers new possibilities
One of the new features of the iPhone 15 is the switch to USB-C. On the iPhone 15 Pro, this change offers the possibility of transferring data via USB 3 up to a speed of 10 Gbit/s. Thus, for video professionals or demanding amateurs, it is now possible to plug a portable SSD into the iPhone’s USB port and directly store ProRes video files in 4K at 60 fps. In addition, this addition allows you to stream 4K HDR video to an external screen.
On the other hand, on the standard iPhone 15, the USB-C port remains at the USB 2.0 standard with a maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbit/s. Fortunately, it is DisplayPort compatible, allowing its use with various video adapters.
Let’s say goodbye to the silent mode switch on the 15 Pro versions and welcome the arrival of the “Action” button. Although the possibilities seem limited at first glance, this new button offers a plethora of choices, with the integration of shortcuts.
The user can assign various automations and, when activated, haptic feedback from the Taptic Engine as well as an animation on the Dynamic Island confirms that the action has been correctly performed.
The iPhone 15 Pro introduces hardware support for the AV1 codec. However, it is important to emphasize that this support is limited to decoding and not encoding.
As a reminder, AV1 is a video codec and its wider use is excellent news for the industry. Unlike H.264, H.265 and H.266, it is an open codec that anyone can use and also has support from other major technology companies.
AV1 thus allows “more screens display vivid images, deeper colors, brighter lights, darker shadows“. All technical details regarding AV1 have been listed by the Alliance.
In terms of connectivity, the iPhone 15 Pro stands out for its support for Wi-Fi 6E. In short, Wi-Fi 6E allows devices to connect to the 6 GHz frequency band offered by Wi-Fi 6E routers, resulting in increased speeds, reduced latency, and less interference with other devices.
Finally, let’s talk about Thread. Apple has equipped the iPhone 15 Pro with a Thread radio thanks to the A17 Pro chip. It is a communications protocol for smart home devices. While Thread has already been integrated into products such as the HomePod mini and Apple TV, the iPhone 15 Pro is the brand’s first smartphone to offer this connectivity.
Portrait mode reinvented
One of the most popular photography features on modern smartphones is undoubtedly portrait mode, which allows you to isolate the subject and blur the background for a bokeh effect. However, a limitation persisted on previous iPhones: once the photo was taken in portrait mode, it was not possible to change the focus afterwards.
With the iPhone 15, Apple is changing the game. Now not only you can adjust the focus after taking your photo, but you can also enable portrait mode on an image that was not originally taken with this feature. This innovation offers photographers increased flexibility and creativity, allowing them to adjust or completely transform the look of a photo long after capture.
Increased storage capacity on the Pro Max
Apple has made a significant change for the Pro Max model of the iPhone 15. Indeed, the 128 GB version, once the entry level for this high-end model, has been completely eliminated. Now the minimum storage capacity for the Max Price starts at 256 GB.
A 3D camera
Apple introduced a 3D camera on the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. Indeed, when Apple revealed its Vision Pro headset, few focused on its ability to take photos and videos in three dimensions, allowing immersive viewing. This has fueled speculation about a possible introduction of this technology in future iPhones.
The recent announcement of the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max has put an end to these speculations. These models don’t just capture images or videos: they capture moments in three dimensions. Greg Joswiak, during the presentation at the “Wonderlust” event, highlighted this new feature. He detailed how the main and ultra-wide cameras on the new Pro models come together to create “three-dimensional video.”
The specifics of the iPhone 15 sold in the United States: eSIM and mmWave 5G
First of all, the iPhone 15s sold in the United States made a radical departure from a well-established norm: they no longer have a physical SIM card slot. Instead, Apple opted for an entirely digital approach, adopting eSIM.
But this is not the only particularity of the iPhone 15 sold in the United States. These models are also the only ones to be compatible with millimeter 5G technology, or “mmWave 5G”. This version of 5G offers faster download speeds, but its range is more limited than other 5G bands. It is a technology particularly suited to dense urban areas where base stations can be installed at short intervals. Please note, however, that this specificity is limited to the American market, and a few other markets in Asia, for the moment.
Each new generation of iPhone brings its share of changes, sometimes subtle, sometimes more radical. The iPhone 14 Pro is no exception. With the introduction of titanium as the main material of its structure, Apple has radically changed the game in terms of design and weight.
Titanium is known for its exceptional strength relative to its weight, which allowed Apple to significantly reduce the weight of the iPhone 14 Pro. For users, this results in a significantly lighter feel in the hand, which can improve comfort of use over long periods of time.
However, this advancement does not come without a small drawback. Despite its lightness, the iPhone 15 Pro is slightly thicker than its predecessors. This change, although minor, might be noticeable for those who are particularly sensitive to the thinness of their device. But, for many, this slight compromise in thickness may well be justified by the significant reduction in weight.
Mobile charging thanks to USB-C
The adoption of USB-C in the new iPhone 15 and 15 Pro isn’t just a step forward in data transfer or compatibility. It also opens the door to charging possibilities.
With this new port, users can now charge their AirPods Pro 2 equipped with the new USB-C case directly from their iPhone. No more searching for an outlet or carrying a separate charger when traveling: your iPhone becomes a power source for your headphones.
But that’s not all. Charging capability via USB-C also extends to the Apple Watch. For those who own both an iPhone and an Apple Watch, this feature makes managing power while traveling or on long, busy days a breeze.
8 GB of RAM on the iPhone 15 Pro
The evolution of random access memory, or RAM, on smartphones is a subject often discussed by technophiles on Android. On Apple, it’s less of a subject… Apple doesn’t even communicate about it. The iPhone 15 Pro, with its A17 Pro chip, now has 8 GB of RAM.
It’s worth noting that the race for RAM isn’t just about quantity. Although some Android smartphones boast impressive numbers of up to 18GB of RAM, this doesn’t necessarily translate into a better user experience. Optimization of the operating system, management of background applications and the efficiency of the chip itself play an equally, if not more, crucial role.
Repairability on the rise for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max
The question of smartphone repairability has become crucial over the years, both for ecological and economic reasons. Apple, often criticized in the past for the complexity of repairing its devices, seems to have taken note of these concerns with its new models.
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max stand out with a revised internal design promoting repairability. One of the advances of this new design is the redesigned case which allows the rear glass panel to be removed with surprising ease. This modification could simplify many interventions, especially those related to the battery or certain internal components, which previously required more complex and potentially risky procedures for the device.
Confusion around Qi 2 wireless charging on iPhone 15s
The new iPhone 15s support the Qi 2 wireless charging standard. If this standard theoretically promises a power of 15 W, which would double the speed compared to previous generations, the reality is a little different.
Indeed, although the iPhone 15s are compatible with this new standard, Apple has chosen to restrict this capacity. The Cupertino giant’s technical specifications page reveals an important subtlety: if charging via the MagSafe protocol does reach the promised 15 W, wireless charging based on the Qi standard is still limited to 7.5 W.
This distinction once again shows Apple’s cautious approach to charging technologies. It is possible that the Cupertino company chose this limit for reasons of security, battery longevity or even to favor its own ecosystem with MagSafe.